SPORTS

Fiji International Flourishing On The Back Of Local Support

The Fiji International is a world-class golf tournament which sits on the schedules of three of the biggest golf tours in the world; but it is made possible thanks to
08 Jun 2017 11:00
Fiji International Flourishing On The Back Of Local Support
Natadola Bay Championship Golf Course, venue for the Fiji International in August.

The Fiji International is a world-class golf tournament which sits on the schedules of three of the biggest golf tours in the world; but it is made possible thanks to some dedicated Fijian companies.

A tournament on a scale like that of the Fiji International; which brings 132 players, more than 40 officials, 60 TV production staff to Fiji and utilises 200 volunteers, both local and international plus an estimated 150 contractors from 50 Fijian companies, needs not only the financial backing of corporate partners but also their support to help bring the tournament’s vision to life.

The inaugural Fiji International, staged in August 2014, signalled Fiji’s official arrival onto the golfing world stage with the Fijian Government, Tourism Fiji and Fiji’s number one golf ambassador, Vijay Singh, all making a push to put their country on the lucrative world golfing map.

Since then the Fiji International has gone from strength-to-strength with the continued support of the Fijian Government and Tourism Fiji. In 2017 the tournament will be tri-sanctioned by the European Tour, Asian Tour and ISPS HANDA PGA Tour of Australasia; expanding even further the reach and awareness of the tournament.

The Fiji International has found a beautiful home at the picturesque Natadola Bay Championship Golf Course. However the tournament has also showcased to golfers of the world this once hidden gem. Since 2014 the Natadola Bay Championship Golf Course has seen notable increase in interest from players and groups on the course and 2017 is set to re-introduce the layout to the world after course renovations by Vijay Singh are completed.

Fiji National Provident Fund (FNPF), the landowners of Natadola Bay Championship Golf Course are also being praised for their support of Singh’s vision for the course, investing in the redesign which officials believe players will be raving about following the tournament in August.

Just next door to this world-class golf course is the InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort and Spa; a leader in luxury accommodation the five- star Resort has become a home, away from home, for tournament officials and Fiji International competitors. The Fiji International is fast becoming a renowned event as players take the opportunity to also combine a family holiday. The hospitality of the InterContinental Fiji Golf Resort and Spa has played a large part in establishing the tournaments reputation. 2015 champion and World Number 17 Matt Kuchar as well as 2016 champion and World Number 27 Brandt Snedeker were two players to take advantage of the opportunity.

In 2015 Kuchar discussed his Fijian experience; “One highlight was being greeted at the airport and driving to the InterContinental Hotel and the guy at the guardhouse could not have had a bigger, louder or warmer Bula welcome,” said Kuchar.

“Every day when we make that drive into the Hotel he’s just the same, energetic, excited and welcoming, it’s a great representation of the warm greeting you get here in Fiji.”

Kuchar was equally excited about the various activities on offer in Fiji and their accessibility which enabled him to spend time with his family.

“The thing everyone wants to do is come and experience Fiji. They want to bring their family, they want to hang out on the beach, they want to go snorkelling and diving. For me to get to do that is just a real bonus,” added Kuchar.

“I think it’s what people want to have happen here in Fiji, to have families come and everyone have a good time and go tell all their friends about what a great place it is.”

As Kuchar highlights, Fiji is renowned for its welcoming nature and friendly greetings of bula! Visitors to the Fiji International from around the world will feel this trademark hospitality as soon as they arrive in the tropical paradise thanks to Airports Fiji Limited and the completion of the terminal modernisation project at the Nadi airport imminent.

Airports Fiji Limited is a company committed to supporting golf tourism and more broadly sports tourism in Fiji which is evident through their founding partnership with Fiji’s largest sporting event.

However before Fiji International visitors arrive in Fiji they already have a taste of what to expect thanks to the hospitality offered aboard Fiji Airways flights; the official airline of the Fiji International.

More than 160 individual Fiji Airways tickets are purchased to bring players, officials and other visitors to Fiji for the tournament each year. In an excellent show of support for the airline more than 80% of players in the Fiji International choose to book a Fiji Airways flight.

The Fiji International has been lucky to have the support of many partners since its inception including Coca-Cola Amatil Fiji. Partnerships with high stature brands, like CCA Fiji and longevity in these partnerships is integral to the continued success of the tournament.

One of Fiji’s most iconic brands; FIJI Water has also been a founding partner of the Fiji International since 2014. FIJI Water is committed to doing business responsibly and seeking opportunities to make a difference.

That means investing in its communities and the environment and focusing its efforts around meaningful issues with like-minded partners to enable positive change.

FIJI Waters’ investment into the Fiji International has helped it achieve these goals.

While the Fiji International has a global focus it likes to act locally via a number of community initiatives like the Golf in Schools programme which aims to leave a lasting legacy of golf in Fiji.

Another partner of the Fiji International which is assisting with local community initiatives is second year partner Westpac Fiji. The tournament’s Official Bank; also supports the Golf in Schools program as well as the domestic and global volunteer programme.

While the Fiji International enjoys the support of many premiere international brands born out of Fiji it also provides benefits to small Fijian businesses which are just as integral to the tournament.

Companies like Tappoo which is the Official Retail Partner of the Fiji International, Victoria Wines; the Official Wine Supplier, Paradise Beverages; the Official Beer and Spirit Supplier and Coastal Rental Cars; the Official Car Rental Partner, also receive the benefit of being publicised to 400 million homes around the world via the TV broadcast.

This is exposure that mid-sized businesses can not usually generate on smaller marketing budgets than large multi-national companies.

In order for Fiji International partners to receive maximum exposure through the international TV broadcast some of the most important infrastructure on the golf course during the tournament is the signage which is professionally produced by local business Kriz Signs.

Equally important to the success of the tournament is the ability to publicise the event both pre-tournament as well as during the tournament week. The Fiji International is proud to have aligned with some of the preeminent media organisations in Fiji including; Fiji Sun, Fiji TV, FBC TV, Explore Fiji and Pacific Island Living.

The Fiji International is a multi-million dollar tournament yet it has established and retained a vibrant Fijian feel. It is through the Fiji International’s family of partners that this is achieved and on behalf of tournament promoters; the PGA of Australia and Sports & Entertainment Limited we applaud our partners for their vision and belief in the Fiji International.

Vinaka Vakalevu!

Edited by Osea Bola 

Feedback: oseab@fijisun.com.fj

 

 



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